The U.S. coronavirus death toll – the highest in the world – surged past 30,000 on Wednesday after doubling in a week, while the hardest-hit state of New York ordered residents to wear masks in certain settings to combat the pandemic.
The sobering milestone was reached at a time when states spared the worst of the pandemic were mulling a partial lifting of restrictions on business and social life by May 1, a target date promoted by President Donald Trump.
The goal of getting the country back to work took on more urgency with the release of two government reports showing plummeting retail sales and factory output last month.
U.S. deaths on Wednesday stood at 30,400, according to a Reuters tally, with 630,000 confirmed coronavirus cases. After the first U.S. death, reported on Feb. 29, it took 38 days to reach 10,000 deaths and nine days to jump from 10,000 fatalities to 30,000.